As my Thailand visa was drawing close to its 30-day limit, I had to duck out of the country on a visa run, a quick trip across the border to Burma (Myanmar) to get another two weeks tacked on to my allowable stay. This would give me time to get back to Bangkok to meet Saki, have a leisurely look around Thailand’s capital and largest city, and then scoot to Cambodia for several weeks. Upon returning to Thailand from Cambodia, I would get another two week extension of
my visa, which would be all the time I would need before my flight back to Tokyo.
Remo, the Swiss fellow who owned the guesthouse where I stayed on a tiny island off the west coast of Thailand, offered me a lift to the ferry which would take me out of the country, and then back again in fairly short order. Over the past several days, he had been wracking his brain to figure out who I reminded him of, a topic of much consternation (and the Swiss are very good at consternation!) at mealtimes. He thought it might be a friend from back home, or perhaps another traveler he had met somewhere along the Silk Road, but try as he might, he couldn’t dredge the memory up. Then, on my last day there, it hit him like the proverbial flash of lightning: “Sean Connery!”
Although this had happened numerous times before during my stay in Asia, it didn’t dawn on me that Mr. Connery might be the person Remo was trying to remember, as he had made the comment that it was probably a long-lost friend (but more importantly, Remo was the first Westerner to make the Connery connection). To date, this has never happened anywhere outside Asia, although numerous Westerners who have heard my tales of mistaken identity in Asia have agreed that there is a resemblance, albeit not nearly to the degree perceived in the Mysterious East. Sadly, the resemblance seems to be to the modern-day Sean Connery, not the Sean Connery of the early James Bond films, but hey, one takes what one can get. Never mind that Sean Connery played Indiana Jones’ father in Steven Spielberg’s iconic film series, and that he is a fair bit older than I am (hell, even Harrison Ford, who played Indy Jones, is a few years my senior), I still feel quite complimented each time it happens.
So anyway, when it came time to leave Thailand, Remo gave me a ride to the ferry pier on the back of his tiny motorcycle. A number of folks were milling about the pier, Asians and Westerners alike, awaiting the call to board. Remo raised a hand in farewell, and shouted loudly enough for everyone to hear: “It’s been great having you here, Mr. Connery!” Then he rode off down the pier, cackling like a maniac.
By all rights, that should be the end of the story, but there is a small coda. After Remo left, there was a small buzz of conversation (all in languages I didn’t understand), and numerous guarded looks in my direction, as people tried to figure out if I was really “that guy”. I imagine that the conversations went something like this: “Do you think…?” “Nah, this guy is older (not nearly so cute, fatter, shorter, etc).” Still, it makes a better story all around if it really was Sean Connery on the dock, and I suspect that the tale has been suitably tweaked by more than one onlooker…